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Prison Service

Volume 406: debated on Tuesday 10 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to reduce staff shortages in the prison service. [116047]

The Prison Service has increased prison officer recruitment from an average 1,000 a year to 2,096 during 2002–03. In line with all other staff recruitment, responsibility for officer recruitment has now been devolved to area and establishment level in order that areas of specific need can be addressed more effectively by local advertising and recruitment campaigns.Recruitment campaigns are currently being run in areas where shortages have been identified and provision has been made to train a further 2,200 new officers during the current financial year. Additionally, to assist in the retention of staff in areas of high turnover, local allowances have been introduced.